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Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Mother's Experiences

     My mother has included the following in a written account of our personal family history. While much of what she has experienced while living her house has been reported in other posts on this blog, the following may be of interest. These are her words and she often tells these tales when we discuss unexplained occurrences.

My first experience was when I was probably no more than two or three. It is one of my earliest memories. I remember being in the kitchen and suddenly a big, round ball of light rolled out the dining room door into the kitchen. No one else saw it but me, but I still remember this. 

Then, when I was five or six my mother moved me upstairs to the large bedroom. There was a washstand in the room with an old-fashioned basin and pitcher set on it. One night the sound of those dishes rattling woke me up. I “knew” that it was a mouse and I also “knew” it was going to run across my face, which it did! I can still recall how it felt when whatever it was passed over my face. I began screaming and my mother ran upstairs to see what was wrong. I was practically hysterical and told her a mouse ran over my face, but of course there was no mouse. She had to spend the rest of the night in my bed because I was so frightened.

One of my most frightening experience happened when I was a teenager. My mother and father slept downstairs (in the room I now sleep in) and one evening my father had gone to bed and mom and I were still up listening to the radio. Suddenly, music started to play, sounding like it was coming from upstairs. I remember being very frightened and screaming, “What’s that?!!” and my father got up and came out (in his long-johns which he slept in) saying, “I hear music!”
My mother didn’t hear a thing. It sounded as if the radio, which was upstairs in my room, had come on, although there was no way that it could have. Mom and I started to go up the stairs to check on it and when we were half way up it stopped just as suddenly as it had started. That was the first time my hair stood on end! Whenever anyone would mention it for years afterward, I would get chills up and down my spine. I do not know if they were forerunners, but there were two deaths in the family within the year—my grandmother, Sarah, in April and Lilie, who lived here, in July.
                                                            
There is a rocking chair in this house which, when I was a little girl, used to be in the kitchen. It is very old and my mother told me that her grandfather brought it with him when he moved from Lower Northfield in the mid 1860’s. I woke up one night when I was a small girl and heard this chair rocking slowly, as it creaked when you rocked it. The next morning I innocently asked my mother if she didn’t sleep well the night before. She said she had slept fine and wanted to know why I was asking. I replied,” Because I heard you up rocking in the night.” At this, she became very upset and said that was her grandmother’s chair and she used to rock very slowly in it, the same way I had heard it. Growing up, I heard it rocking “by itself” many, many times.

  
Many years later when my son was in his teens, he slept in that room and awoke one night to see a girl with long brown hair leaning over his bed.  A few years earlier my other son was alone in that same room one Sunday afternoon, lying on his bed reading a comic book, when the door on one side of the room opened and closed and a few seconds later the door on the other side of the room opened and closed. Someone passed through, although he saw no one.

The spare bedroom directly above the living room seems to be the scene for most of the unexplained activity. In summers past, when relatives were visiting from Ontario, they would sleep in that room. One of them told me she awoke one night to find my mother standing at the foot of the bed. I have also heard footsteps and sounds of floor boards creaking from that room when no one was occupying it. Rebecca’s bedroom shared a wall with that spare bedroom and there were many nights as a child and teenager when she would hear noises, knocks and mysterious banging coming from that room. My grandson also saw my mother sitting on the bed in that room, petting the family cat.

There have been numerous times when there is an overpowering smell of perfume, which I associate with my mother. Every year when I do my spring cleaning and wash all of the good dishes in the china cabinet, most of which were Mom’s, I am sure to smell perfume. She loved her dishes and up until the last few years she lived, she washed them herself. She would get me to carry them to the sink and back in to the cabinet after they were washed and dried. Every year I do this and can smell her perfume and I know she’s there. Also, sometimes there is an unpleasant smell that Rebecca refers to as “old people smell”. My mother was born in this house and lived here her entire life (91 years) so it must be hard for her leave, which is why we know she is still around.

About a year after my husband died (1982), our church held a Memorial service to honor members of the community who were no longer living. Members of the congregation were asked to come forward and light a candle in memory of a family member, so I lit one for Murray and Ricky, and Rebecca lit one for her grandparents. That night while we were in bed I awoke to find the kitchen light on. I laid there for a few minutes thinking that one of the kids had gotten up to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t hear anything so eventually I got up and turned the light off. They both told me the next morning that neither of them had been up in the night. The following night the light came on again and after a few minutes it turned off. I told my brother about this a few days later and he said the switch was probably worn out so he took it apart to check it but found nothing wrong with it. My theory is that since we lit candles in church in memory of our loved ones, they did something similar for us!

Perhaps the single most terrifying experience I personally have ever had occurred on Sept. 26, 1982. I know the exact date because I told relatives about it as I was leaving their house the next day after their daughter’s first birthday party.

I was in bed and had been asleep for a while when something woke me up. There was a tall woman standing right beside my bed staring down at me. It was dark in the room but I could see her perfectly. She had very pale skin and dark hair which was piled up high on top of her head, and very dark piercing eyes which were staring at me. She was dressed in a long loose dress or robe, and it was pale green and pink in a damask pattern. I remember I screamed when I saw her and she immediately disappeared. The strangest thing about it was she seemed to have Chinese features and it was certainly no one I had ever seen before. I slept with my light on the rest of that night and for weeks afterward, but I never saw her again.

One night quite a few years ago, my nephew’s daughter and a few friends were here at the house and they wanted to play with the Ouija board. They lit candles and went to the living room with it. During their ‘session’ a plant stand in the corner fell over. I had been in bed but awoke to them screaming. The next morning, the phone rang.  I answered it and said “hello” and an old woman’s voice said “hello”. I said “hello” again and so did she and then the line was full of static and I couldn’t hear anything so I hung up. I pressed “star 69” to identify the last caller but I got a message saying the call could not be traced. I am convinced it was a caller from the Great Beyond, possible stirred up the night before by the Ouija board session.


One afternoon I was expecting my son and his girlfriend to come visit as they usually did on Sundays and I heard a car drive in. I looked out and saw their car backing into the field on the other side of the driveway. I went on with whatever it was I had been doing, expecting them to come in at any moment. After a bit, I wondered what was taking them so long and when I looked out again the car was gone. I supposed they had forgotten something and left and gave it no further thought. A half hour or so later, they did come in. I asked them why they had been there and left earlier and they looked at me in astonishment and asked me what I was talking about because they had just left home for the first time. However, I had seen them before!
                                       






Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Bedroom

The following post has been kindly written by a guest blogger who wishes to remain anonymous. His experience took place not far from my childhood home.


My birth home is located in a port town on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. To be fair, in my sixty plus years, it has never been known publicly as a hot spot for paranormal activity. In fact the only paranormal activity I know of is personal and centered in a downstairs bedroom of my childhood home.

The original house was built in the early 1900’s. A concrete well cover bears the date 1921. An extension was added following World War two. This allowed two extra bedrooms including the one in question. One might jump to the conclusion that a grave may have been disturbed as family plots on private property were common in those days. This not the case here as there is only about eighteen inches of gravel on top of cliff rock where the foundation is.

In the winter of 1963, I was a boy of seven years. I lived in the upstairs apartment with my parents and brothers. It was a typical family scenario of the day with my hard working Dad providing for a growing family with a stay at home Mom. We were typical boys going to school and doing what young boys do best. Mayhem often reined but there were also strict rules because my Father’s mother lived downstairs. That winter something was to happen that followed me and others for years to come.

“Nanny” was a respected school teacher and icon of our local church.  A very capable woman in so many ways. Just before my father was born, she lost her husband to a visiting ship borne outbreak of influenza. She found herself working and raising three children by herself in the early 1930’s. She was a very proud woman and refused any welfare or hand-outs. She did everything she could to provide. This included all of the physical labour on the property she herself grew up on. A large tract of land that had two large gardens, an orchard, a very long driveway and lawn. Boy was there lawn. I can attest as I spent many hours behind a power mower cutting it, she used a push reel mower.

She was a well-built woman, not that tall but stocky with a full figure and muscles that belied a lifetime of hard work. As kids we use to get her to make a muscle with her biceps because hers were bigger than Dad’s. Built on top of her physical strength was a pillar of faith. A devote Christian woman that believed as strong as any person I have ever known.

She sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and served on the church council. She was a person not to be challenged on her faith and not much else either. She was very no nonsense but at the same time had a very nurturing and caring side as well. She made sure we always had a wealth of books and activities to keep us occupied. All of our bikes and tricycles were given to us by her as Christmas presents as Dad just didn’t have the money. She also schooled us on her faith at every opportunity.


I paint this picture of my grandmother to help understand what happen that winter and for years to come. I think of that one particular day often. It has affected me greatly in my life’s course. I gave up believing in religion because of it. Instead I started believing in something else. The true core of what makes us humans and individuals.

Early in 1962, Nanny started having health problems. She was stubborn and delayed seeking help as one often does. She was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was then on a voyage to the end of her life. Back then the course was much the same as today. Surgery, chemo, radiation. She ran the whole gambit. I can remember her and my mother joking about her coal black wig they gave her when her hair fell out. She never complained and always declared she was in god’s hands.

Before the Christmas of ’62, her cancer was back and taking a huge toll. Still she dragged herself through all of her usual seasonal traditions. Once it was over she went back into hospital. She was not there long and returned to her home to die. Her bedroom was to be her last place on earth. It was not long after that we were forbidden to even go downstairs to visit her.

Her once robust frame was reduced to a shrunken shadow of the woman she used to be. My Father use to lament about how she was nothing but skin and bones when she passed. This always puzzled me as that young boy because it was not the same woman I saw the day before she died. In fact I still question to this day what it was I did see.

It was a typical winter’s day when we got home for school for dinner. Dad was not home yet and Mom was getting dinner on the table and acting as referee to my two younger brothers who were fighting. It had been months since we saw Nanny. I looked at my other brother and he looked at me. Next thing we were sneaking downstairs and entering her bedroom.

We crawled on our hands and knees. I stopped at the foot of the bed keeping my head down. My brother when right up beside her and started to speak. “Gee you look good Nanny. Are you getting better?” he said. I looked up not quite prepared for what met my eyes.

 For there was my grandmother, propped up on pillows with her still well-muscled arms by her side. Her full face and hair were glorious with what seemed a glowing aura around her. I could not remember seeing her looking any better as was immediately puzzled as to why we were not allowed to see her. She was smiling and very much at peace.
She reached over and took my brother’s hand. She replied “I will be much better very soon. Now you better go before you get into trouble.” My brother and I snuck back upstairs unnoticed and never spoke of what we did for fear of punishment. The next day, as I came home for dinner, I met my visibly shaken Uncle on the back steps. “She’s gone.” was all he said as he swept by me.
                                          


The story does not end there. 

Fast forward to 1975. I and just met a girl from out of town and we started dating. On the day I took her to my home for the first time, I naturally showed her around the place. My Grandmother’s bedroom had been transformed into a music studio complete with instruments stands, amps, speakers, and the whole nine yards. She took one step across the threshold and immediately jumped back with a startled cry.

“What’s wrong?” I said. “I can’t go in there, somebody died in that room”. She was much shaken and required consoling. All the time she was in that house after that, she never went into that room again. In our years together after that she showed other signs of heightened sensitivity but that’s another story. We went our separate ways years later.

Again going forward to 2007, my present wife stayed at what was now my Father’s home. My Grandmother’s room had been switched back into a bedroom and it was the first time for her to sleep there. She described to me being awaken in the middle of the night by someone in the room. In the light from the street light outside she could see a woman standing at the foot of her bed looking at her with a peaceful smile on  her face. She described the woman to me. It matched exactly my Grandmother. I had never told her of my Nan or what happened in that room……………..

As I said earlier, I have no faith in religion. What I do believe is that there is a life force in us that makes us the individuals we all are. Set free by death, it reveals itself from time to time. Is there a God? Do we have souls? After I saw my Nan laying there on the bed, I grew older constantly questioning my “faith”.


There were other things that happened to me. I seemed to be receptive to certain happenings which were at first troubling and strange. Today, much older and wiser, I look at this objectively and accept that there must be something other than out physical bodies that make us who we are and probably will be after we die.